Offsetting My 2007 Carbon Footprint

It’s unlikely that I’m the first carbon neutral journalist, but you never know.

While Ireland is waking up to its poor record on environmental matters and carbon emissions, I’ve developed a sense of eco-guilt over the past few years.

According to UN figures, Ireland’s per capital emissions were about 17 tonnes of CO2 per year in 2003, although that has probably risen since then.

My carbon footprint this year includes:

  • an estimated 18,000 miles of travel by bus,
  • probably about 2,000 miles by car,
  • probably another 2,500 miles by train,
  • one domestic return flight, 
  • three return flights to the UK,
  • one return flight to Europe,
  • and one return flight to the US.

Then of course there’s all the goods and services I’ve bought throughout the year.

Presumably one day, most goods and services will have some kind of label showing  their carbon footprint.

I’d like to be able to calculate my individual carbon footprint reasonably accurately – using an online calculator – that takes into account all those goods and services.

But despite the fact that a number of carbon offsetting schemes have been criticised during the year, I’m going to support a project run by an organisation called Cool Earth.


Up to 130 tonnes of CO2 is locked in to every half acre of Amazon rainforest in the Rio Madeira (Wood River) area in the Democracia region of northern Brazil.

They claim that protecting half an acre of rainforest locks in up to 130 tons of carbon dioxide. 

These guys seem to be onto something, because deforestation hugely contributes to climate change.

So I’m going to do my bit, and continue to do so – although I realise it’s ultimately a tiny gesture, given the scale of climate change – to help prevent it.

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